Well, it’s been a busy few weeks! Last night we moved our two bucks and our polled intersex doe, who for all purposes thinks she’s a buck, into their new digs. They’ve been living in close quarters inside of a pen in our barn, and we’ve been desperate to get them outside somehow, but because their pen was within the larger goat living quarters, we could not expect to move them in and out without a lot of trouble, particularly when any of our does are in heat. (As always, click on any of these photos to embiggen.)
We had planned on converting our existing lean-to into goat housing and adding a yard, but a couple of weeks ago while we were walking all of our does, George was gazing at the round pen we have on our property. It was built by the previous owners, who kept horses, but we don’t. In fact, we’ve thought about tearing it down in the past. But boy, are we glad we didn’t, because he pointed out – hey, the structure for a yard is already there, we just have to add some more fencing. So we’ve been hard at work on this project ever since. We used welded wire fencing – something we would never recommend if one was using just regular fence posts – but by attaching it to the sturdy structure of the pen with furring strips that we cut from 1 x 4’s and some decking screws, we feel confident that it will provide the containment we need. Normally, with goats, you’d want to buy woven wire fence specified for goats and sheep – but that would have been three times the cost, and with some extra work, we were able to do this on a budget. Because our round pen is not completely level, neither is the wire fencing – but it creates a barrier all around that prevents the buck from hopping through the fence. Unless they manage to procure a trebuchet – then all bets are off. Of course, if they manage to do that and operate it properly, we have bigger problems with which to concern ourselves, I suspect!
We built a very sturdy buck cottage, which does need to be finished, but served them well in this morning’s rain. It will get completely covered in pole barn metal siding to protect it from the elements. You can see in the photo where we’ve started piecing some together – and we have a few more pieces on hand that will need cutting and installation. I’ll probably watch for anyone tearing down a shed or barn from which we can salvage some more. We still have to repair the large water trough that we have on hand for their drinking supply – in the meantime, I’m grateful for the hydrant that is relatively nearby so that I can refill their bucket a few times a day. And we have to build a new feeder. But, we were able to move them in last night, and that was a relief for everyone. I swear, they knew what we were doing, because when I came to get them for the actual move, they were bouncing off the walls (yes, literally, goats do that) with excitement! And we’d been in and out of the barn all day without any of that hubbub – this was an extraordinary response.
Of course, as soon as they left the barn, the rest of the herd got nosy and had to check out the pen, which we left open. It’s nice to have that space back, because now when our does give birth, they can have the private birthing suite to use, just as some of them did last year. Ginger is due this week, on Thursday if we count 150 days – we’re anxiously awaiting her arrivals. She was bred by our friends buck Hercules at Paw Paw Farms, who is a Nubian, so this will capitalize on her “airplane ears” with the big floppy cuteness that breed possesses, and, we hope, great milk production in any does!
Speaking of goat cuteness, check out this video I took of Flora and Fauna, our LaMancha doelings, last week.